Donald Keller went into the Island’s Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) office ready for a boil, but the “Pastafarian” barely had to strain to get his way.
The clerk at the registry recognized his religion, let him don his colander cap, and told him to say (macaroni and) cheese before snapping the picture for his driver’s license.
“They said I was the first on the Vineyard,” Mr. Keller said with a grin.
Mr. Keller, 65, is part of a growing number of Pastafarians fighting for their right to demonstrate their beliefs on their government-issued IDs.
“Pastafarian” is a light-hearted religion “created” by Bobby Henderson in 2005, according to published reports. Mr. Henderson established himself as a “Pastafarian” in opposition to teaching Intelligent Design and creationism in the classroom. The religion has caught on in recent years with Pastafarians pushing to have their beliefs recognized by the government by wearing colanders in license photographs.
In 2015, Lindsay Miller of Lowell paved the way for other followers of the “Flying Spaghetti Monster” worshipped by Pastafarians when she won a legal battle to wear her colander in a Massachusetts license photo.
Mr. Keller wants you to know that he’s not out of his noodle. He got the renewed license in anticipation of his birthday, Wednesday, which the self-proclaimed liberal says he “regrettably” shares with President Donald Trump.
Though Mr. Keller says his colander-wearing photo is a first for the Vineyard, a spokesman for the registry wrote in an email that there’s no way to confirm a claim that a customer was the first to have his image captured with a certain type of religious headwear. “The RMV’s facial image policy will allow a customer to wear a hat or other head cover in their license photo if the head covering is worn for medical or religious reasons and it does not hide any facial features,” Jacquelyn Goddard, the registry spokeswoman, wrote.
Mr. Keller went to the registry armed with papers certifying he is an ordained minister of the Pastafarians (it cost him $25 online).
Wearing a purple shirt that depicts the “Flying Spaghetti Monster” with the word, “Believe,” Mr. Keller told The Times he was raised a Roman Catholic, got smacked by nuns, and grew to hate it. “That’s no way to run a religion,” he said.
Later in life, spurred on by his “first ex-wife,” Mr. Keller said he elbowed his way into the religion created by Mr. Henderson. “I have a sense of humor,” he said.
And that’s the point, Mr. Keller said. Pastafarians don’t take themselves so seriously and certainly no one is hurt in the name of the “Flying Spaghetti Monster.”
Mr. Keller knows that a religion where heaven has “beer volcanoes and stripper factories,” where climate change is blamed on a lack of pirates, and prayers end in “RAmen” is bound to be mocked. He’s willing to stand up for what he believes in.
“If I say I’m an atheist, that doesn’t go over great,” he said. “If you say you’re a Pastafarian and that the Spaghetti Monster created the earth, people say, `You don’t really believe that, do you?’ I tell them it’s as good a theory as any.”
Mr. Keller read a newspaper column recently claiming his religion of choice is “fake.” He took issue.
“Aren’t all religions made up?” he said.
Mr. Keller hopes to start a trend, at least among his immediate inner circle. “My girlfriend says when she gets her license she’s going to wear a colander,” he said.
She is already on board with the Pastafarian faith. “She makes pasta for us every Wednesday,” Mr. Keller said. “Because Wednesday is Prince spaghetti day.”
There is one thing that Mr. Keller is still not quite sure about. “I don’t know what will happen when a cop stops me,” he said with a laugh.